Top 10 Deadly Predators
Our world is filled with deadly predators which are on the constant lookout for unsuspecting prey. And in some cases, the prey turns out to be humans as well. Predators have an arsenal of weapons such as venom, claws or razor sharp teeth to take out their prey with ease. These are the creatures which are the stuff of nightmares and phobias. Here is a list of such predators you should look out for.
It is only natural that the King of the Jungle will share a place in the list of top predators. Lions prefer to live in grassland, savanna, dense scrubs and open woodlands. They are the second largest predator of the cat family next to Tigers. They usually live in groups known as a pride and hunt together. They are fiercely territorial and challenge anyone who dares to enter their territory.
The Lions sit comfortably on top of the food chain in their habitat. They are capable of hunting a range of wild animals which even includes giraffes, elephants, and hippopotamuses. But they generally hunt for medium prey like zebras and antelopes. It is the Lionesses which hunt for food whereas the male Lions tend to just share the meals acquired by the Lionesses. However, they are adept at hunting and join the hunt while going for large prey.
There are also some rare cases of Lions attacking and even eating humans. Man-eating Lions have been reported to enter villages directly to hunt for humans. It is reported that over 250 people are killed by Lions each year. It was even found that such man-eating Lions hunt for humans as a supplement for their food and not as a last resort.
Great White Shark:
The Great White Shark is the terror of the seas. They are the inspiration for movies like Jaws which depicts the attacks of sharks on humans. Although the movies may be fiction, the power of these creatures is undeniable. The Great White Sharks grow for a size of up to 20 feet in length. They have rows of serrated teeth used to rip through flesh.
There are over 100 shark attack reports each year and about half of them are attributed to Great Whites. However, these sharks do not intentionally attack humans. In some instances they take a bite and then sensing their mistake they let go. This, however, doesn’t make it any less terrifying.
Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes. About one-third of adults have this phobia making this the most common phobia in the world. You won’t need to have any phobia to be afraid of the Black Mamba, the deadliest snake in the world. These snakes are found in Africa and they strike fear in the hearts of those who are unfortunate enough to encounter them.
They are extremely venomous and are one of the most venomous snakes in the world. They are about 40 times more venomous than the King Cobra! Their neurotoxic venom causes the nervous system of their victims to shut down making it impossible to walk, move or even breathe. Death may come within minutes without proper medical attention.
The Black Mamba is known to kill creatures as large as cows. They are one of the fastest snakes in the world and are even known to chase humans if provoked. They are also known to strike at victims multiple times aggressively. Two drops of venom are enough to kill a human and with no anti-venom the fatality rate is 100%.
The Saltwater Crocodile is the largest living reptile in the world. They are known to reach lengths of up to 20.7m and weigh over 1,200kg. They are cold-blooded creatures and spend most of their time resting under the sun. However, once under the water, they become stealthy predators.
Most of their prey is ambushed and drown under the water. They are an opportunistic apex predator and eat prey like fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and even humans. Once an unsuspecting victim approaches close to the water they lash out and grab them with their jaws. Then the spin around in a death roll to rip them apart and drown them.
They have the strongest bite force of all animals in the world with a bite force of 16,414N. Crocodiles have a tendency to treat humans as prey which results in a number of fatal attacks. During the battle of Ramree Island in WW2, the Japanese soldiers were trapped in the swamps and around 400 soldiers were killed by the Saltwater Crocodiles there.
The Killer Whale or Orca is a type of oceanic dolphin. However, unlike their cute cousins, the Killer Whales have a fierce reputation. These are apex predators which feed on other fish and marine mammals like dolphins and seals. They are even known to hunt adult Whales. They grow to a length of about 32 feet and can weigh up to 6 tonnes.
There have been reports of captive Killer Whales injuring or killing their handlers. However, they are not known to hunt humans in the wild. They are social creatures and have complex social structures. They are also highly intelligent and have the second heaviest brain of marine mammals. Unfortunately, due to hunting and oil spills, they are an endangered species.
It is surprising that man’s best friend was bred from these vicious predators. The Gray Wolf or the Timber Wolf is a canine which can grow to a weight of up to 45kgs. This is one of the most well known and widely researched animal and has a number of books written about them. They are apex predators with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to them.
Wolves have been associated as the symbol of the warrior as well as the Devil in mythology. They are seen as hunters and their howl sends shivers down our spine. There are cases in which wolves attack humans and even eat them although they are rare. The victims are mostly children under 18 years and the attacks do not stop unless the wolves are killed.
As a single animal, a Wolf is not that deadly. But it is their capability as a pack that makes them a deadly predator. The Wolves are social animals and are highly intelligent. They detect their prey with a keen sense of smell and once found they work together as a group to bring down their prey. They are capable of bringing down even a 500 kg moose as a pack.
The Anaconda is the heaviest snake in the world and can weigh over 550 pounds with a length of over 25 feet. Although the Anacondas don't have any venom they are part of the boa constrictor family and kill their prey by crushing and suffocating their victims. The snake bites down on its target and coils around them, slowly tightening its grip. The victim's bones are broken and they suffocate to death. It is also recently found that due to the constriction, blood doesn’t flow to the victim's brain and they die of ischemia.
They have their eyes on the top of their heads so that they can spy on prey above the waterline while staying submerged. They are also capable of going weeks without food while staying motionless waiting for an unsuspecting prey to wander close. The general diet of an Anaconda includes Capybara (the world’s largest rodent), caiman and even jaguars.
Although it is highly unlikely that an Anaconda would attack or kill a human they are more than capable of doing so in their habitat. The large Anacondas are capable of swallowing a man whole and that is one of the scariest things that can happen to you. There have been some cases of Anacondas killing and swallowing children although there are no proven cases of them swallowing an adult.
The King Cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake. The King belongs to the genus Ophiophagus which in Latin translates to “Snake Eater”. They have a fierce reputation for being aggressive and attacking humans. The majority of their diet is other snakes which may include venomous snakes and even other cobras. They also prey on rodents, lizards, and birds when there are no snakes around.
The King Cobra’s venom has neurotoxins which cause the nervous system to shut down. They are capable of delivering a large quantity of venom to the victims (up to 7ml). Although they do not bite humans normally their behavior turns violent during breeding season or when cornered. A King Cobra’s bite without antivenom has a fatality of 60%.
The Piranhas are freshwater fish that inhabit the rivers and lakes of South America. They can grow up to 50 cm long and even though this might not be too large they make up for it in numbers. The Piranhas hunt as a large group and have razor sharp teeth to rip apart the flesh of animals. They are capable of stripping a carcass to the bone within minutes.
Piranhas are not known to seek out and attack humans. They only eat humans that have already died or dying. It is however pretty scary to step into waters inhabited by these deadly predators. Piranhas usually attack other fish for food and are known to go for their eyes of tail first in order to incapacitate them. This indicates that they are deadly, intelligent predators.
It is undeniable that the title of the most deadly predator would go to humans. All the other creatures which we have talked about earlier are directly or indirectly threatened by humans. We are the reason for the extinction of a number of animals. We may not have sharp claws, fangs or venom but our level of intelligence puts us comfortably on the top of the food chain.
We may consider ourselves as cultured and civilized but we are the most deadly and destructive force in the world. Humans not only kill other animals but also themselves. Accidents, murder, negligence, and wars cause the death of thousands of humans. It is said that over 80 million people died in the span of 6 years due to World War 2.
The weapons of destruction created by humans continue to threaten the existence of life on this planet. Even indirect activities like construction of dams, deforestation, pollution, etc have cost us a lot. We are slowly killing ourselves and everything around us. It is however ironic that when we talk about deadly creatures, we think of other animals which hunt for food to survive or as a means of self-defense but forget about the real evil within us.
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© 2018 Sudhir